Puslapio vaizdai

We may notice here the arrangements which are announced for the future publication of the “ Christian Teacher,” which for the last six years has been under the editorial care of Rev. J. H. Thom of Liverpool. He now informs the subscribers that Rev. James Martineau of Liverpool, Rev. J. J. Tayler of Manchester, and Rev. Charles Wicksteed of Leeds, will be associated with him in conducting the work. In such hands it cannot fail to secure the attention of the public. Few journals have ever united more talent in their management. “The scope” of the Teacher “is embraced within the two compartments of religion and literature:" the tormer including 1. “religion, spiritual and practical; 2. religious philosophy; 3. religion, Listorical and critical:” the latter “aiming chiefly to exhibit the moral influences of literature and its more permanent relations to society.” The Teacher is published quarterly, and is regularly received by Messrs. Munroe & Co. and W. Crosby in this city.

The last number of the Christian Reformer announces a change also in the editorial department of that journal. After having been for a period of thirty years, or ever since its establishment, under the care of Rev. Mr. Aspland of Hackney, it is now transferred to the hands of his son, Rev. R. B. Aspland of Dukinfield, by whom a new Series will be commenced with the number for January, 1845. The work will be conducted on the same general plan as formerly. The Reformer appears every month, and is received here by the houses which we have just named. — The Reformer maintains ihose views of the meaning and authority of Scripture which have been generally held by the English Unitarians, while the Teacher represents the opinions of such as lean towards a rationalistic spiritualism.

Among the works that have just appeared in England we may mention “Note and Comments on Passages of Scripture. By Rev. John Kentish,” an 8vo. volume of 450 pages. — Rev. Dr. Beard of Manchester is publishing a series of works under the general title of “ The Voices of the Church in its Own Defence,” “comprising pieces by Divines of Various Communions in reply to the · Leben Jesu' of Dr. Strauss." The following parts of this series have already appeared:-“Strauss, Hegel, and their Opinions. By Rev. J. R. Beard, D. D.:” “A Reply to Strauss's Life of Jesus. From the French of Prof. Quinet, and the Rev. Pasteur A. Coquerel ;" “ The Credibility of the Evangelical History, illustrated. From the German of Dr. A. Tholuck;” “"

;” “The Theory of Myths, in its application to the Gospel History, Examined and Confuted. By Dr. Julius Müller;” “Ilustrations of the Moral Argument for the Credibility of the Gospels. By Rev. J. R. Beard, D. D.” – Dr. Beard has also in press " The Life of John Mylton,” in one 12mo. volume.


Replies to the Address of English Unitarians. — As we gave in our number for last March the “ Address of Unitarian Ministers of Great Britain and Ireland, to their Ministerial Brethren of the Unitarian Churches in the United States," on the subject of Slavery, it is proper that we should insert the Replies which have been sent, and which were delayed partly by doubt respecting the course that should be taken in reference to the Address, and partly by the length of time

necessary for ascertaining the wishes of the brethren and by other incidental causes. As they have now both reached England, we no longer defer their publication. Two Replies were sent, the former signed by one hundred and thirty ministers; the other with eleven names affixed to it. Many of the brethren, it will be seen, did not sign either.

We have purposely deferred, till we could give these papers, an account of the meetings which were held in consequence of receiving the “ Address." The first of these meetings was called through a notice in our religious journals, and was held at the Berry Street Vestry, February 29, 1844. About tiity of the brethren were present. Rev. Dr. Francis of Cambridge was chosen Moderator, and Rev. Samuel May of Leicester, Secretary. After a discussion which was continued through two sessions, it was Voted, “that it is expedient that an answer be prepared to the letter, recently addressed to the Unitarian clergy of this country, by a portion of the Unitarian clergy of Great Britain, upon the subject of Slavery,” and “that a Committee of five persons be appointed to prepare such Reply.” Rev. Messrs. Peabody of Portsmouth, N. II., Lothrop of Boston, May of Lexington, Morison of New Bedford, and Ellis of Charlestown, were chosen as the Committee. At an adjourned meeting, April 11. Rev. Mr. Morison, in behalf of the Committee, reported a “ Reply," which, after a few amendments, was accepted, and it was Voted, that “the Report be adopted, to be sent to our brethren in Great Britain and Ireland as a reply to their Address, and that it be placed in the hands of a Committee for signatures.” Messrs. Lothrop of Boston, Stetson of Medford, and Thompson of Salem, were appointed on this Committee. It was further

Voted, that the Committee be requested to have a sufficient number of the copies of the letter, reported to this meeting, printed; to forward a copy to every Unitarian clergy man in the United States, so far as known, with the request to each that he will return it to the Committee with his name subscribed, if he think proper, as soon as may be convenient; when a reasonable time shall have elapsed, to provide for the engrossing of the letter upon parciment, with the names of the several signers appended ; and to forward it to such destination in Great Britain as the Committee may think proper; and to take any other steps which, in their judgment, are needful.”

The first of the Replies which we give below, is that which was accepted by the meeting, and to which the preceding votes refer. While some of the brethren were disinclined to make any reply, others were disposed to send one of a somewhat different character from this. A second letter was therefore prepared and presented to a few of the ministers, who added their names. No attempt was made to give it a general circulation, as the object was not to enforce attention by the consideration of numbers, but to lay before the brethren abroad views which were honestly entertained in this country.

The letter reported and accepted at the meeting, April 11, is this. To the Unitarian Ministers of Great Britain and Ireland, who signed

an Address to their Ministerial Brethren of the Unitarian Churches in the United States of North America, dated Dec. 1, 1843.

Reverend and Dear Brethren :- We have received your letter relating to slavery, a subject of deep and fearful interest to us all.

In our political relations, it is threatening to upheave the very foundations of our government, while it draws its dark line through the land, and painfully divides the members of a great, and otherwise united people, on a point touching the dearest interests of man. In its moral and religious bearings, we cannot look upon it without feeling sick at heart. It is a curse pressing every year more heavily upon society; and as we believe in the righteous retributions of Heaven, so we verily believe that, unless we do all that we can to purge it away, it must bring upon us the sorest calamities that, in the providence of God, can fall upou a nation. So far, there is no difference of feeling or opinion among us. We all believe that there is something for us to do. But what shall we do? How shall we act ? Slavery, though it belongs only to a portion of our country, is so woven into our political organization, and, in its more extended influences and relations, has such bearings, that the questiou is one not only of solemn interest, but of great difficulty, requiring of us the most earnest and devout thought. And as we must answer to a higher tribunal than that of man, so must we be faithful, each to his own convictions.

“ As it respects any direct political action for the abolition of slavery, except in the District of Columbia, and in the territories not yet admitted as independent States, it may not be known to you that the citizens of the free States have no more right to interfere than the citizens of Great Britain. As a political body each separate State has the entire control of this matter within itself; and is exceedingly jealous of any interference from without.

“In addition, therefore, to what we can do for a correct public sentiment in the free States, our only appeal is to the consciences and hearts of our brethren whose mistortune it has been to inherit, whose guilt it will be, if, without strong and earnest struggles, they consent to uphold, an institution which, from the dreadful wrong it inflicts on master and slave, must be unblessed of God and a curse to man.

“We ask for ourselves and we ask for them the counsel and sympathy of all Christian men, and we trust that the wise and holy efforts of all will second our efforts and our prayers, that slavery may no longer stain our national character, and threaten the ruin of our republic. Our faith is strong; and while we see cause for penitence and sorrowful forebodings, we have also a bright assurance that if we are true, He who maketh the wrath of man to praise Him will, in his own good time, point out to us a way of deliverance.

“ With sincere regard, your brethren in the faith and hopes of the gospel of Christ.

“ May 15th, 1814.”
The second letter is as follows.

" Reverend and Dear Brethren :- We esteem it a privilege to receive the counsel of our brethren on matters of Christian duty; and your letter on the subject of slavery has given us gratification, because it shows that the ocean does not separate us from your fellowship and sympathy. The want of accurate information on your part respecting our actual position in regard to slavery, does not in the least diminish our confidence in the fraternal interest that dictated your communication.

“You certainly do us no more than justice in supposing that we have no doubts as to the deep wrong of man holding man as a slave,' nor in anticipating our concurrence and sympathy when you deny the moral right of any human being to make another bis chattel.'We should be slow to yield to any body of men in the strength with which we hold this conviction. We agree with you in the fact that a great moral and social evil exists in the United States; that like other evils of the same nature, it grows chiefly out of the sins and selfish passions of men; that like other moral evils, it is a fit subject for moral and religious etfort; and that it calls for appropriate action from us as ministers of religion.

“ There would seem, then, to be no peculiarity in regard to this subject, which calls for a warning thus solemnly and formally given, unless our minds, as you suggest, have been reconciled to inaction, because inconvenience or sacrifice has happened to lie in the way of active and immediate endeavors to give effect to our inward convictions'- in other words, that we have been taithful stewards, sacrificing our sense of duty to a love of ease, or from moral cowardice and the fear of disagreeable consequences to ourselves.

“ These are serious charges, which should not be lightly volunteered. If such be the impression on your minds, - a result to which we know you could not have arrived without the greatest grief, — we gladly avail ourselves of this occasion to disabuse you of it. We are sensible as individuals, and as a body, of great deficiencies, but we utterly and conscientiously deny that there is any sin of which we feel that we have reason to be afraid or unwilling to speak. If there were any such, it would be those, - (about which we are not commonly charged with delinquency) — which are more personal to our hearers, and most assuredly not the subject of slavery, with which they have comparatively so litile to do. We say this to brethren, who address us in a Christian spirit. To an enemy or a scoffer, we will not say we should scorn, but we may say at least that we should not feel called on, to make this claim to common honesty.

“Now permit us to add that the intimation in your letter, — gently and sorrowfully conveyed, seems to proceed upon some misapprehension of the facts in the case. This is not the occasion for entering into a defence or explanation of the course which any of us have seen fit to pursue. It is sufficient to say, that if you would form an intelligent and just judgment on the subject, it will be necessary for you, if you have not already done it, to inform yourselves of the relations that exist between the several States of this Union, - of the powers of the General Government, - and of the degree of control which one State has over the internal affairs of another.

“ It will be equally necessary for you to remember that hostility to this or that particular measure, is not hostility to the cause of human freedom; and that disagreement as to the modes best adapted to the removal of slavery, indicates no disagreement as to the nature or degree of reprobation in which we hold slavery itself.

“So far as this last point is concerned, the feeling of opposition to slavery throughout New England and in the parishes with which most of us are connected, is in general as strong and as religiously held as we suppose it to be in any part of England. We know of no Unitarian pulpit in the Northern States in which, and no Unitarian preacher by whom, all Christian condemnation of slavery might not be freely uttered, without suspicion that he was likely to assume the appearance, or share the fate of a martyr. We treat this as we do other sins and evils, according to the relative place and importance which we think it holds among the various subjects on which we address those to whom we minister. If we have not occasion to speak of it as frequently as we do of some other evils, it is because our hearers have no connection with it, except so far as they are citizens of the United States, acknowledging allegiance to its Constitution. There are those among us, doubtless, who under other circumstances might become slaveholders; but they are not so now. The passions which would permit them to become such, now and among us manifest themselves in other ways; and we think it proper to speak more of these passions and of the sins to which they actually lead, than of slaveholding with which our hearers have so little to do.

“ As to the general subject; the mass of' sin and misery around yourselves, the existence of which you are often compelled to witness and lament, has given you, undoubtedly, sad experience of the inefficiency of religious instruction suddenly to remove an enormous evil from the midst of a community; and you can determine how far the continued existence of slavery in some of the States of this Union is to be charged to the negligence of the Unitarian clergy, when you consider, that, with the exception of five or six of our number whose fields of labor are in slaveholding States, it is hundreds of miles removed from us, – that we have no opportunity of personally addressing the holders of slaves -- that for all useful purposes, they are as far removed from the sphere of our influence as from yours, and that from the nature of the bond which unites the several States, the people of Massachusetts have as little right or power to coutrol the action of the Legislature of Georgia or Alabama in relation to the subject of slavery within their boundaries, as the citizens of Manchester or Liverpool.

“ We know that you will take confort in the assurance, that we have done or are doing upon this subject what we think a sense of duty calls upon us to do; and we know you will pardon us for saying, that of what we can or ought to do we must of necessity be the most competent judges. You may well suppose that to a subject of such surpassing moment to our country, we have given our most serious thought, and that the course which any of us has seen fit to adopt, has not been adopted lightly. Every community has its own peculiar evils to deal with — every minister must distribute his exertions over the whole field of his labors according to the exigencies of his peculiar situation; he has the best means of knowing where his duty calls, and if others have confidence in his honesty of purpose, it seems to us that it requires great and intimate knowledge of the circumstances of his situation, to warrant a rebuke, however tenderly and however honestly given, for his supposed unfaithfulness.

“This communication expresses, as you will perceive, the views of but a few individuals respecting the position which Unitarians hold in relation to slavery. It has not had the advantage of being circulated for signatures like the letter which it will accompany, and it is not written because of any dissent from the general principles of that letter. If it answer no other purpose, it may perhaps be an additional means, - though a most slight and unimportant one, - of showing how closely we feel connected with our brethren in England, and how deeply we value their sympathy.

“ Yours in the bonds of the Gospel. “ Boston, September 30, 1844."

« AnkstesnisTęsti »